The qualitative research involved interviews with 60 people drawn from samples including individuals suffering from either mental health problems or dementia and their carers.
The researchers key findings are set out below:
Mental health problems
- Free initial services from third sector and regulated providers are valued. Reasons include affordability, getting initial advice on options and poor past experience of legal advice.
- Customer support needs depend on the severity of problems, but include extra time for individuals to express themselves, extra communication and increased reassurance.
- It is important to this group to feel listened to and understood, have services adapted to support them, have continuity of personnel and costs transparency.
- There is a clear cluster of legal needs: wills, power of attorney and property issues.
- Those with early stage symptoms (e.g. less successful dealing with information) may not flag their needs in advance. Carers for those with later stage symptoms (e.g. confusion, memory loss and discomfort in unfamiliar surroundings) are more likely to.
- This group welcomes initial phone contact to discuss service adaptations; clear information before meeting on the legal issue, options and costs; home visits; ‘dementia friendly’ services (e.g. plain English, patience and respect); and a clear meeting record.
All these resources are available from the LSB website here.